Charlize Theron: Devil's Choice

The South African model-cum-actress emerges from the page to the screen in the unholy horror Devil's Advocate.

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She was so unknown she wasn't credited by name in the marketing campaign for the quirky noir film 2 Days in the Valley, but Charlize Theron was indeed the star of the TV and poster push for the film, even though Teri Hatcher was in the cast. And thanks to 2 days and That Thing You Do!, the 21-year-old South African megadish was suddenly guesting on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and signing to costar with Keanu Reeves in the big studio thriller Devil's Advocate. Amazing what an image of a scantily clad, gun-toting actress can do, isn't it? "Sex sells," Theron shrugs.

How did Theron come by this knockout nonchalance? When she was 12, she asked her mother about the birds and bees, and got a unique response. "She took me to see Fatal Attraction," Theron says. "Snuck me in the car, under a blanket, and said, 'That's what it's all about, that's what it looks like, so now you know." Thusly educated, Theron left home at 16-- "because there were no opportunities"--but two years modeling in Europe failed to kindle the passion that this glamour girl felt when she tried film. "I came home from the set after my first day, and just felt high."

I ask Theron, who'll next be seen in the comedy Trial and Error, if there was a nervous moment when she watched her 2 days topless scene with her family. I should have known better. "I said, 'Mom, what did you think?'" recounts Theron. "And she said, 'Well, it was such a pity that James Spader covered your nipple.' "

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Michael X. Ferraro



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